Amanda Smith is a CPA. Amanda Smith is a photographer in little Johnson City, Texas. Her photography is simultaneously enigmatic, wistful and accessibly infused with an East Texas aesthetic.
Nederland sits just west of Louisiana. It was founded by Dutch settlers in the late 1800’s. The town has a windmill. I would imagine that most folks that knew Amanda as the clarinet player in the Bulldog band would both marvel at and puzzle over her photographs. She seemed an accountant.
Art sneaks up on those of us with dominant right brains. There are some of left brain predominance that sneak up on art. Amanda methodically stalked art after calmly balancing ledgers and blithely reviewing tax forms. There is nothing of the familiar creative volcano in her. One does not think of Frida or Madonna in her presence.
Photography has always been erroneously perceived to be the second cousin or stepdaughter in the fine art world, with the few obvious exceptions. However, it can be as transcendent and emotionally evocative as any painting or sculpture. Amanda’s images can simultaneously evoke ghost and childhood, the smell or movement of a lost Grandmother and a cherished, forgotten adolescent prank. A walk through the Central Texas woodlands of mesquite, persimmon, juniper and scrub oak with Amanda becomes piney, dense – Yoknapatawphaian. Faulkner and East Texas flash in her photos; antidotes to hardscrabble limestone and prickly pear. Our subconscious is made of home. We all are spun of visions – most in dreams, few upon waking.
“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali and Amanda Smith would not be comfortable at lunch… maybe they would. Art, after all, is truly about inner visions and transcendence.
To a Lover Who has Dreamt of a Camera as a Beautiful Black Bird
To grow up in the shadow of a happy home. The long comfortable shadow of plain spoken folk. Kin and others. Amidst the dense East Texas Look around. Childhood’s proscenium trees harboring and framing the sanguine ghosts and mind sprites, knowing them. Pleasant company on a stroll.
Quite suddenly from around a sudden corner new gauzy wraiths remind. Old tasks sage. The lense cleaves the world. Doors open and speak of beckoning, caresses. Then, to travel ghostlike stumbling over quotidian. To know a cage.
Lickity split bounding after the sweet, wise, de-shackled black bird. The thrilling, seducing, chattering black thing developed and fixed.
Watch me point my toe. I will dance in awe and gratitude. Sweet black bird of box and visions, accept my dreams. Optical benedictions.
Kevin Tully/January, 2015